Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tapping Trees

This "winter" (if you can even call it that in Minnesota this year), my husband and I tapped our silver maple trees. I had the idea when we first moved into the house, but didn't realize until this winter that any maple tree can be tapped. Not just sugar maples. Sweet! We have three silver maples and tapped two of them. It was extremely simple and unbelievably awesome.

First, my husband drilled a hole into each of the two trees. We had to drill at an angle so the sap would run more fluidly. In the photo, you can see the metal spile in his hand. This is put into the drilled hole and then tapped a couple of times so it is secure.

On the spile is a small hook to hang the bucket and lid. If the trees are tapped at the right time, the sap will start flowing immediately. Unfortunately, with the crazy winter we had this year, we had tapped too late. It was warm enough during the day, but wasn't getting cold enough overnight.

After the first night, we didn't think we'd get any sap. In fact, from one of the trees, we didn't. Not even a drop. That was a bummer, but we did end up with quite a bit from the second tree. Our spirits were lifted! You can store sap in the fridge for up to a week, so we had to boil rather quickly.

It was so interesting. Sadly, I didn't get to be present for the boiling portion of syrup making for very long. My aunt called with a delivery, and I needed to be there. I left my husband to the boiling and didn't get any pictures. BUT! We made syrup! Six whole ounces of syrup!

The only thing I can say is that homemade syrup is amazing. And I can't wait for next winter to tap the trees again!

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